Monthly Archives: June 2016

Riviera Casino Demolition Update: Abandoned Rooftop Pool is History

Following the much-hyped implosion of the Riviera’s Monaco tower on June 14, 2016, it’s back to business-as-usual for the hotel’s demolition team.

Riviera demolition

We’re still in the denial stage of our grief. Mainly because we can’t recall what the other stages are.

One of The Strip’s most infamous fails has now fallen victim to heavy machinery, as the Riv’s abandoned pool is being transformed into rubble.

Riviera Las Vegas hidden pool

“Time heals all wounds.” ~The boneheads who built the Riv’s defective rooftop pool

The pool in question was built in 1987. The pool is situated over the north side of the Riviera’s casino.

The pool was never used because it was built poorly and leaked into the casino. The defective pool wasn’t easy to find, but we managed to do a security breach for posterity before the Riviera closed on May 4, 2015.

Riviera pool

Don’t think of it as a demolition. Think of it as a mercy killing.

The Riviera’s rooftop pool is the stuff of Las Vegas legend. Now, it’s becoming a memory.

The front of The Riv has pretty much been stripped clean. Here’s a bird’s-eye look at the abandoned pool, the hotel’s facade and the two stories of rubble from the 24-floor Monaco tower implosion.

Several structures remain at the Riviera site, including another tower, the Monte Carlo, slated for implosion in August 2016.

Here’s a shot of the south side of the Monte Carlo tower. Behind that, an empty space that was the Riv’s convention center.

Riviera demolition

At left, the Rivera’s Monte Carlo tower. At right, the debris that was the Monaco tower.

The other side of the Monte Carlo tower has been wrapped in plastic in preparation for the implosion. Insert your favorite “safe implosion” joke here.

Riviera Monte Carlo tower

That’s right, the Monte Carlo tower isn’t at the Monte Carlo hotel. The Monte Carlo hotel soon won’t be at the Monte Carlo hotel. It’s complicated.

Please partake of our Riviera demolition photo gallery, for soon it’s all we’ll have left of this Las Vegas classic.

Riviera Demolition Update: June 19, 2016

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Clever Faux Ad Touts Ruins of Las Vegas to Promote “Independence Day” Sequel

In what is likely to be the best part of “Independence Day: Resurgence,” a fake ad has been released touting Las Vegas as a destination, despite Sin City being left in ruins following a thwarted alien invasion.

Independence Day Resurgence Las Vegas

Please avoid crashing your alien spacecraft into our Strip, thank you.

The mock ad comes courtesy of the Las Vegas Ruins Tourism Board, and slyly picks up where the original “Independence Day” left off.

The ad says, “On July 4th, 1996, aliens attacked our planet, but they did not destroy the spirit of Las Vegas.”

Aliens could never destroy the spirit of Las Vegas! That could only be accomplished if Strip casinos started charging for parking or cut back on the liquor in their cocktails. Ahem.

Let’s check out the mock ad, already.

“Come, discover Las Vegas, reborn from its ruins.” Hey, that’s the same line they used when Sinatra drove a golf cart through a glass entryway at the Sands. Long story.

Kudos to “Independence Day: Resurgence” for coming up with a piece that’s not only entertaining, but also provides some background for those who may not be familiar with the now 20-year-old “Independence Day” (‘sup, Millennials).

Independence Day Resurgence

“Sorry, sir, no photos are allowed in the casino.”

Beyond that, as so often happens in films and television shows, Hollywood manages to whip up some serious Las Vegas WTF.

For example, at one point in the video, there’s a close-up of a craps table. What the hell is a dice cup doing on the table? It’s craps, not backgammon.

Independence Day Resurgence

Don’t even get us started about that cluster of chips in the Come.

“Enjoy all the excitement of classic gambling on authentic casino tables and machines excavated from the ruins, refurbished to perfect working order,” the ad says.

Then we’ve got this yahoo winning a huge jackpot for getting a cherry, just about the lowest value symbol you can get on a Las Vegas slot machine.

Independence Day Resurgence

Dude, chill. You won two bucks.

To make matters worse, the coins he’s being paid are clearly stamped “No Cash Value.”

Independence Day Resurgence

Slot machine tokens are also called “jetons,” something we didn’t know until you forced us to write a caption for this photo.

And don’t get us started on the placement of that dilapidated “Welcome to Las Vegas” sign. Oh a hilltop. Somewhere out there. Looking down on the Stratosphere.

It’s possible the aliens successfully invaded, it’s just that they invaded the brains of Hollywood creatives.

Gaffs aside, it’s always great to see Las Vegas highlighted and immortalized on film.

Independence Day Resurgence

Over the last decade, the number of Las Vegas weddings has dropped nearly 40%. We’ll take what we can get.

Las Vegas is a favorite target of aliens (“Mars Attacks!”) and massive creatures bent on destruction (refer to 2014’s “Godzilla”).

We assume “Independence Day: Resurgence” will be in many ways similar to “The Lost World: Jurassic Park.” Four-page script. Jeff Goldblum gets a new house. CGI overkill. We’d love to be wrong, though, just this once. The Las Vegas-inspired promo gives us a small glimmer of hope.

“Independence Day: Resurgence” comes out June 24, 2016.

Mermaids Casino Will Give Away Thousands in Progressive Jackpots Before It Closes

Casino closings can often be sad things. There’s always a bright spot, though. When they close, casinos are obligated to give away any outstanding progressive jackpots, and that’s what Mermaids will do before it closes June 27, 2016.

Mermaids Las Vegas

Silver Palace opened on the Mermaids site in 1956. Later, it was Carousel, Gamblers Hall of Fame, Sundance West and Sassy Sally’s. Whew. We’re going to need a minute to catch our breath, thanks.

Mermaids, of course, is one of three downtown establishments closing on June 27.
Mermaids, La Bayou and the Glitter Gulch strip club were sold to Derek and Greg Stevens
for an amount we estimate to be “a metric hell-ton more than we have in our bank
account, or ever will, unless we are adopted by Derek and Greg Stevens.”

Mermaids and Glitter Gulch will be integrated into a new resort (being informally referred to as 18 Fremont) that will include the site of the closed Las Vegas Club.

Don’t freak out, the iconic Vegas Vickie sign above Glitter Gulch will be featured in the new hotel-casino.

Vegas Vickie

Sorry, she’s taken. She married Vegas Vic in 1994. No, really.

Nevada gaming regulations require a casino to distribute any outstanding progressive
jackpots prior to removing slot machines from its floor. Jackpots can be transferred to other machines, but if a casino is closing, they have to give the money away.

Remember the Lion’s Share slot machine at MGM Grand? That’s a well-known example of a
jackpot on an obsolete machine that had to either be transferred to another machine or paid out. Part of the lore around that machine had to do with the misconception that particular machine had to pay before it could be removed or retired. That wasn’t the case, but it made for a great marketing device. Good times.

It should be mentioned the rules about giving away progressive jackpots only apply to
slot machines the casino owns, by the way. “Networked” progressive machines owned by
game manufacturers, such as Wheel of Fortune or Megabucks, and are excluded from the
prize pool.

So, Mermaids has to give away its jackpots. That means tens of thousands of dollars are
up for grabs. La Bayou is giving away its jackpots, too, although the amounts are much smaller.


This blog’s usual “Helping You Win $10,000” fee applies, of course.

Here’s how the giveaway will work. Mermaids will have a “contest” from June 17 (9:00
a.m.) to June 25 (10:00 p.m.), 2016. During that time, players will qualify for entries
in the form of tickets.

On June 25, at 10:00 p.m., winners will be chosen and the money will be given to a few
lucky players.

Because progressive jackpots will continue to increase through the giveaway date,
there’s no way to know how much will be given away, but we can say there’s a Triple
Double Diamond machine with a jackpot of $11,118.01 and a Red, White & Blue machine
with a jackpot of $8,385.69

Mermaids jackpot

There’s nothing saying you couldn’t just straight-up win this progressive jackpot before Mermaids closes. Get on that.

To get an entry ticket, you can do any of the following: Hit a bonus playing a 90 coin
bet minimum, hit a jackpot of $100 or more, get a keno payout of $100 or more, hit any
video poker four of a kind paying $100 or more or hit any royal flush on video poker.

How will the prize pool be divided up? It’s complicated.

The first place winner will get 46% of the prize pool. Second place gets 28%, third
place gets 23% and fourth place gets 3%. Don’t kvetch, fourth place winner. It’s free

Mermaids will also give away a 55-inch big screen TV. (Technically, that prize comes
from a Mermaids beer vendor, but let’s not quibble.)

As for the drawing, entrants must be present to win. If no one claims a given prize,
they’ll keep drawing until somebody claims their cash.


You weren’t the biggest casino in Vegas, Mermaids, but you certainly had some of the most convenient restrooms.

So, if you’re looking for an excuse to visit Mermaids before it closes, this could be

We’ve heard lots of visitors are planning to swing by Mermaids one last time for a
deep-friend Oreo or Twinkie, the casino’s claim to fame. Go for it, thrillseekers!

Here’s what’s up at La Bayou, another slot joint across the street.

La Bayou Progressive

Come for the jackpot giveaway, stay for the weird stuff on the ceiling.

If you swing by Mermaids during its final countdown, you’re likely to be in good company. Many folks who rarely (or never) visit a given casino will do so when it’s closing.

The Riviera, for example, had a massive surge in guests and gambling in the final two months it was open. It’s been said the Riv’s last two months generated more casino play and profit than any two-month period in the 20 years prior to that!

Stop by Mermaids for its last hurrah—get some free beads, bid farewell to the deep-
friend eats and take a shot at winning the casino’s remaining progressive jackpots.

Let us know how it goes!

Vital Vegas Podcast, Episode 18: Skinny Pours, Silver Palace and We B.S. Our Way Through Listener Questions

In this, the final episode of the first season of the Vital Vegas Podcast, we barrel recklessly into the world of skinny casino pours and more.

Vital Vegas Podcast

We just blew by 26,000 downloads, and we’re pretty sure those weren’t all by our mom. Just saying.

We also mine podcast gold with an homage to the Silver Palace, a casino you’ve probably never heard of, that opened on June 8, 1956. The Silver Palace once stood on the site now occupied by Mermaid’s, the deep fried Oreo-centric grind joint that closes on June 27, 2016.

Silver Palace was the first casino in Las Vegas to boast “motor stairs,” also known as escalators.

From the Las Vegas Sun in 1956: “The new Silver Palace will be casting an even brighter glow at the First and Fremont location tonight for the grand opening of the ultra modern, million and a half dollar club.” A million-and-a-half dollars? These days, that’s about what it costs for a casino to replace the felt on its table games!

Also on the show, we answer a metric hell-ton of listener questions. We even answer a couple of them correctly. Miracles happen.

You also won’t want to miss the “Listicle of the Week,” a segment we were going to trademark until we came up with 10 reasons not to.

Plaza pool

This week’s listicle is all about pools. Not the one in this photo. We just think the one in this photo is awesome. Now, it’s Oscar’s restaurant at the Plaza.

There’s also our take on all the latest Las Vegas news: Eggslut has opened at Cosmopolitan (lower your expectations), Frankie Moreno’s show is in trouble at Planet Hollywood, 3535 Bar at Linq has a new party pit, “Jersey Boys” closes Sep. 18, 2016 and an NHL expansion team is a done deal in Las Vegas.

Think of this episode as an escape from all the crappy things going on in the world. The Vital Vegas Podcast is like rum, but in podcast form.

Our Favorite Bellagio Conservatory Display Takes Us Back “Under the Sea”

You know how Las Vegas attractions too-often describe themselves as being “immersive”?

Well, in the case of the Bellagio Conservatory’s summer display, “Under the Sea,” it’s
true. Because it’s under the sea. Please, try and keep up.

Bellagio seahorses

Seahorses have no teeth and no stomach, which is why you’ll never see one at a Las Vegas buffet.

“Under the Sea” is far-and-away our favorite Bellagio Conservatory & Botanical Garden display of the year (sorry, pandering Chinese New Year display), so let’s dive headlong into this free, family-friendly Las Vegas attraction.

Bellagio Conservatory Under the Sea

A whale’s tail is called a “fluke,” a term which also describes the time you actually won something playing keno.

While many of the elements of “Under the Sea” will be familiar to frequent Las Vegas
visitors, the centerpiece of the display is new.

“Under the Sea” features a walk-through fish tank designed by the team behind a Las
Vegas-based reality show, Animal Planet’s “Tanked.”

Bellagio Conservatory

The aquarium structure holds about 1,500 gallons of water and approximately 15 children screaming, “Look, Mommy, it’s Dory!”

Guests walk down a tunnel flanked by two 20-foot aquariums. Tip: As you’re strolling
through the aquarium structure, don’t forget to look down. The floor is illuminated and

Bellagio Conservatory Under the Sea

Told you it’s immersive.

The fish in the aquarium are on loan from Mandalay Bay and include five flame angelfish, six sailfin tang (Dory is a regal blue tang, but close enough), six Spanish hogfish and three lunar wrasses. Any of which would make a damned fine band name, by the way.

Once again, the Bellagio Conservatory has created an impressive display, including tens of
thousands of plants.

The “Under the Sea” exhibit boasts 80,000 blooming plants. No, we did not count them. We
have a life. The blooming plants include New Guinea impatiens, calandiva, hydrangea,
sunflower, salvia, pineapply lily, asalea, chrysanthemum, miniature rose and calla lily.
The exhibit gets 6,000 tulips each week, and it has about 2,000 ivy plants.

Bellagio calandiva

We’re guessing these are calandiva, but we know flowers like we know fact-checking and copy editing.

Shout-out the exhibit’s 600 shrubs, too. We were not entirely aware begonias and hibiscus
were shrubs, but who are we to argue with horticulturalists? Or people who write news
releases about their work, for that matter.

“Under the Sea” also has seahorses, dolphins, a clam and pearl, a sea turtle, starfish, scuba divers, a seal and a whale. There’s also a mermaid looking a little like she’s on her third night in Las Vegas, if you get our drift.

Bellagio mermaid

The mermaid’s realm comes complete with a matching set of bidets.

Let’s not get bogged down trying to figure out why there are flowers growing “Under the Sea.” This is whimsy, not a Jacques Cousteau documentary. (That sound you hear is Millennials collectively shrugging.)

There are also massive jellyfish. These gelatinous creatures are some of the most distinctive in our planet’s oceans. Jellyfish use their “bells” for locomotion and their stings provide us with an excuse to urinate on our friends.

Bellagio jellyfish

This is the first known jellyfish upskirt, ever. It’s a little thing we like to call “innovation.”

Happily, the Bellagio Conservatory’s seasonal exhibits remain free. Which is definitely
going to jinx it, sorry. Think we’re kidding? Attractions like this aren’t cheap. Bellagio
has 120 people on its horticulture staff.

For a long time, Las Vegas casinos used free attractions to draw customers to gamble. But Las Vegas visitors are gambling less, and we’d wager just a tiny fraction of people who
visit Bellagio to see the Conservatory end up at the slot machines or tables.

“Show in the Sky” at Rio went away, “Sirens of TI” had its plugged pulled at Treasure Island and the volcano at Mirage cut back on its number of shows. Not to be a buzzkill, but enjoy the Bellagio Conservatory & Botanical Garden while you can!

Bellagio Conservatory sea turtle

Sea turtles were around during the late Jurassic period. Turtles seem laid-back now, but they were a little freaked out about the late period thing.

Find out more about the Bellagio Conservatory & Botanical Garden.

Interestingly, the photo of the “Under the Sea” display on Bellagio’s Web site isn’t
actually the display. It depicts a previous incarnation. Don’t be so OCD, bro.

Bellagio scuba diver

“Please turn your head and cough.” ~Sea moss

Enjoy a metric ass-ton of photos from Bellagio Conservatory’s “Under the Sea” display, a reminder to appreciate and preserve sealife, especially the adorable kind. Because let’s face it, nobody’s making a blob fish out of carnations anytime soon.

Bellagio Conservatory Summer 2016

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Shocking Nude Photos of Las Vegas Celebrities Leaked

Las Vegas has been rocked to its core as explicit photos of several Sin City celebrities have been leaked. Vital Vegas has gained exclusive access to these scandalous images.

The shocking photos reveal an intimate side to several members of the Seven Magic Mountains
art display recently unveiled in the desert just south of Las Vegas, pictured below.

Seven Magic Mountains Las Vegas

The Seven Magic Mountains art exhibit has been turning heads in Las Vegas since it was unveiled in May 2016, but you ain’t seen nothing yet.

The Seven Magic Mountains display has gained international attention, but now several of
its stone pillars are likely to receive even more renown, for all the wrong reasons.

It seems several of the rock formations posed for “tasteful nude photos” while in college
to earn extra money to pay for tuition and living expenses. It’s a phenomenon not uncommon
among starving artists, but given the visibility of the Seven Magic Mountains exhibit, this
is sure to send the art world into a tailspin.

Please be warned: These images are NSFW.

Nude Las Vegas celebrity

Just when we thought we’d seen everything. Click here for unedited photo.

The subjects of the nude photos have declined comment, but we have confirmed the images
(complete with ample amounts of cleavage) were taken in or around the porte-cochere of
Bellagio Las Vegas.

Hotel officials have also declined to comment.

Nude Las Vegas celebrity

Oh, like you didn’t do things in college you came to regret. Click here for the unedited photo.

Cases of nude photos being leaked is not uncommon among celebrities, but it’s believed this
is the first such instance of nude rock sculptures. The fact the subjects involved are
associated with Sin City makes this story all the more seductive.

It’s unclear whether the subjects of the leaked celebrity photos will pursue legal action,
but you can be sure many lawyers, and probably mineralogists, are looking into the matter.

An important lesson from this episode: What happens in the Earth’s mantle and crust doesn’t always stay in the Earth’s mantle and crust. Or something.